As we head into this weekend, New Englanders can relax and breath just a little easier knowing that Joaquin will likely pass well southeast of Nantucket on Monday into Tuesday.
The last few advisories from the Hurricane Center agree with our newest computer model runs, which send the storm out to sea instead of a direct hit anywhere on the United States' East Coast. The new track downgrades Joaquin to a Category 1 hurricane by the time it tracks far offshore past new England early next week.
However, there still is enough uncertainty that warrants this storm to be monitored closely.
Currently, Joaquin is still a devastating Category 4 hurricane about 5 miles south of Rum Cay in the Bahamas. It has max sustained winds of 130 mph and is moving very slowly towards the north at about 3 mph.
A northward motion at a faster forward speed is expected through this evening and a turn toward the northeast is expected tonight with an additional increase in forward speed. On the forecast track, the core of the strongest winds will continue moving over portions of the central and northwestern Bahamas today.
Joaquin will begin to move away from the Bahamas tonight and Saturday. Before it heads out, however, a very dangerous and life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 6 to 12 feet above normal tide levels in the central Bahamas in areas of onshore flow. In addition, Joaquin is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 12 to 18 inches over the central Bahamas with isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches.